The Nook & Cranny
Writing Retreat

a long weekend exploration of poetry and prose with award-winning writers Lauren Carter and Ariel Gordon

October 24-27, 2024

Bell Aura Bed & Breakfast
Carman, Manitoba
on Treaty One territory, in the homeland of the Métis Nation



waking up with golden Prairie sunlight streaming through the window of your literary-themed room. 

A feathery idea floats in your mind and you reach for your notebook to quickly capture it, writing until the smell of fresh coffee tugs you downstairs. 

In the glow from the stained glass windows, you settle in to a delicious home-cooked breakfast. 

Laughter and conversation fill the dining room as you ready for a day of exploring your stories, guided by award-winning, supportive writers, unfettered by the demands of everyday life. 

Lean back, relax, pop another sweet strawberry into your mouth. 

You’ve found your people. You’re ready to write. 

What People Say

The setting was serene, and the food was delicious. I felt welcomed and encouraged at every moment by participants and session leaders alike!
Hand writing in book balanced on knees with lawn in background
Heidi Casper
I’m coming away from Nook & Cranny with a greater sense of purpose and hope for my poetry collection. Ariel’s advice and strategies for exploring language in new ways was a game changer. I can’t wait to dive back into the writing. Thank you!
A woman holding an open book in front of a lake
Leanne Fournier
Creating/strengthening community. Revealing/sharing techniques and tools. In a beautiful town, hosted by the beautiful people at Bell Aura. Fun and fine people and a head full of inspiration and joy!
Hand writing in a blank book with a pen and a nearby cup of coffee

About Bell Aura B & B

Built in 1898 in the Gothic revival style, this church-turned-bed-and-breakfast is full of art and antiques, not to mention the stained glass originally shipped from Scotland in crates of molasses! 

Each of the bedrooms is themed for a writer or evocative book–Agatha Christie (formerly Brittania), Hemingway, the Manderley–while the library and living room are full of cloth-bound historic hardbacks and cozy seating. 

Host Barbara has earned praise for her delicious meals (friendly to dietary restrictions), served in the large dining room, and generous and easy-going hosting. Listed as one of the 23 Most Unique Places to Stay in Manitoba on Road Trip Manitoba, Bell Aura is custom-made for being creative!

The Workshops

Enjoy a wide variety of writing sessions, focused on fiction, poetry, and creative exploration, and suitable for all levels. Connect with new writer friends and find inspiration within the historic bed and breakfast and the town of Carman (including the local thrift store and art gallery) to fuel your writing! 

Two Truths Make a Lie (Lauren) Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth, said Albert Camus. But what does this mean? How do you turn your terrible marriage or devastating car accident into a story with universal meaning? In this fun session, we’ll mix up truths, lies, and the imagination to create  something entirely unique and new OR     

Ekphrastic Experimentation (Lauren): The term ekphrasis means to describe with vivid detail. During this workshop, we’ll visit the Golden Prairie Arts Council  gallery, read some examples of ekphrastic poetry and prose, and try our hand at the form or just see what writing emerges in response. 

Embroider and Embellish (Lauren): You have some words on the page… now what? In this workshop, you will play with what you’ve made over the weekend, discover what has energy, and explore ways to intuitively enrich, deepen, expand, and keep working on your work OR 

Dispatches from the World (Ariel): What does it mean to slow down and pay attention to the natural world? What lives there? What’s moving? We will be focusing on close observation of urban nature, writing poems about what we see/hear/smell/taste.

Thrifting Poems (Ariel):  We’ll walk over to the Carman MCC Thrift Shop, where your goal is to find an object (or objects) to write to. We’ll chat about writing strategies on the way back to Bell Aura, where you’ll spend an hour exploring the lost and found, the now and then, of your finds.

Strategies for Editing Poetry (Ariel): How do you take your freewriting, your first drafts, to the next level? We’ll explore techniques to refine your poems: leaning on line and stanza breaks, amplifying the soundwork, and using the page like a canvas. We’ll also look at web tools that will help you loosen up while editing. 

What Else Do You Get?

  • Accommodations in relaxing shared or single literary-themed rooms 
  • A welcoming swag bag of writerly goodies 
  • New friendships with writers 
  • Time away from the daily grind to reconnect with your words 
  • A chance to share your work at the low-pressure open mic 
  • Delicious meals, plus a help-yourself tea and coffee bar
  • The chance to chat writing and writing life at the table (and beyond!) 
  • Guided visits to sites in the picturesque village of Carman
  • A closing raffle of handcrafted items to say thank you!
Join us to at the N & C!


Early bird pricing now on! 

Secure your spot with a $200 deposit and save $100, with final payment due August 29. Visit this link to review our policies.

Meals, accommodations, programming, use of the inn, and loads of fun and inspiration for: 

Triple: $879; Double: $989; 

Single: $1370; Commuter: $669

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join us at our writing table

Be the first to find out about our retreats and get your free guide 10×28: Reboot Your Writing Practice PLUS grab a subscribers-only code for %15 off your first Writing Refuge: Online (last Sunday of most months)!

A group of women writing around a long wooden table with windows in the background and wooden beams on the ceiling